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Student Portfolios, Business Communications, Engineering Poetry Contests, and Grading Multiple Drafts of Technical Writing Documents

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  078001.(doi:10.13031/2013.22882)
Authors:   Ann D Christy, Margaret E Owens, Mary J Faure
Keywords:   portfolios, business communication, technical writing, internships, engineering poetry

The Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Ohio State University is expanding its emphasis on student communication skills through a wide variety of means including student portfolios, teaching from and requiring a text on business communication, engineering poetry contests, and multiple graded submittals of student document revisions. A portfolio is a collection of student work which exhibits the student’s efforts, progress, and achievements. The authors use a range of portfolio assignments including course portfolios, internship portfolios, and career portfolios. Course portfolios can be used to document mastery of specific skills and to show individual progress. Internship portfolios include the internship proposal, weekly status reports, monthly summaries, employer’s letter of recommendation, and the student’s final comprehensive internship report. Career portfolios showcase a student’s best work and can be used for job interviews and ABET accreditation documentation. The department now requires sophomores in their first course with the department to purchase a text on Business and Administrative Communication. This text is used extensively in that introductory course and several courses thereafter from the sophomore through senior year, including the capstone course sequence. Engineering poetry contests enhance students’ writing skills, encourage their creativity, and expand their appreciation for the interconnectedness of all aspects of their college education, especially the arts and humanities. The department has sponsored an annual poetry contest since 2004. Student writing is improved through requiring and giving feedback on multiple submittals of student documents including lab reports, resumes, essays and capstone design proposals, interim reports, and final reports. Results and feedback from students and industry partners are presented. Recommendations are provided based on instructor experience and reflection.

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